Dear Captain: If “Survivor” did a season with maintenance and reliability folks, what would the tribe names be?
– Chuck, maintenance manager, Oklahoma
Great question, Chuck, and one that I’m sure others were wondering about, too. Let’s take a look at the tribe names for “Survivor: Reliability Island.”
The Huhs. Not the Huns, the Huhs. This tribe has no idea what we are talking about when we mention failure modes, series or parallel reliability, or binomial distribution. This tribe consists mostly of those who have no idea what reliability is. You know, most of the organization. This tribe is best known for the facial expressions that make up most memes.
The Not-Agona-Do-Its. This tribe consists of those who hear what you have to say but it’s not sinking in. Resistance is key to their success and they have perfected the art. Status quo is their comfort zone. This tribe hears the gun and, instead of running, asks, “What’s in it for me?” When you come across a member of this tribe, it is best to just pass on by. Do not make eye contact and stay on your path. If you stop to try and bring them on board, you will just delay your efforts.
The Done-Did-Thats. The Done-Did-Thats tribe is chock-full of folks who already have plenty of experience. This tribe has tried it all, and nothing has worked except for bigger hammers. These folks still use string to align pulleys and have more parts in their toolbelt than the storeroom does, and yet somehow they’re considered heroes when the facility is down and they bring it back up with brute force. They have 40 years of experience (one year, but 40 times), so don’t bother trying to enlighten them.
The Not-My-Jobs. This tribe is focused on only their immediate responsibilities. If it is not explicitly spelled out in their job description, they are not doing it. No stretch goals, no special projects, no continued learning to improve, just same-old same-old for them. Metaphorically, they would watch the site burn to the ground while standing next to the fire hose if “firefighter” is not in their job description. They are good at day-to-day living, but when it comes to challenges, they don’t move a muscle.
The Wana-Gonnas. No other tribe listens better than the Wana-Gonnas. These folks listen to what you have to say and think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. These are the dreamers, the tribe that thinks, plans and thinks and plans, and thinks and plans. Unfortunately, they lack action. You know the type: When you were a kid, and everyone was going to jump off the cliff into the water, they were the ones running their mouth at the top, but when it came time to jump, they just stayed put.
The Shoulda-Couldas. No tribe owns up more than the Shoulda-Couldas. They have knowledge and are great at Monday-morning quarterbacking and making excuses for why they didn’t execute as they know they should have. If this tribe put as much effort into winning challenges as they did into lessons learned, they might just win one.
Hopefully this list helps you identify which tribe some of your team members belong to. Knowing this can help you with deciding how to approach them when asking to help you push that reliability boulder uphill.
Good luck – the tribes have spoken.